Obama promises all-out relief effort in Haiti
(AP) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday promised an all-out rescue and humanitarian effort to help the people ofHaiti overcome a "cruel and incomprehensible" tragedy, theruinous earthquake that ravaged the poorest country in the WesternHemisphere.
The president said the relief effort is gearing up even as theU.S. government is working to account for Americans who were on theisland nation when the disaster struck late Tuesday afternoon.
Obama said he named U.S. Agency for International Developmentadministrator Rajiv Shah to coordinate American efforts, and thepresident called upon all nations to join in helping strickenHaitians.
Obama spoke Wednesday in the White House Diplomatic ReceptionRoom. Later, spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters the presidenthad no plans to go to Haiti.
The president, who has been involved in ensuring a quickresponse since Tuesday night, said in a statement from the WhiteHouse Diplomatic Reception Room that one of the government's toppriorities is to quickly locate U.S. embassy employees and theirfamilies, as well as all other American citizens living and workingin Haiti.
Obama sought to show a swift and united disaster response withthe United States as an assertive leader, but he said the effortmust be an international one.
"We are reminded of the common humanity that we all share,"Obama said, with Vice President Joe Biden at his side during thebrief statement.
Obama adjusted his Wednesday schedule, canceling a jobs event inMaryland to better monitor the situation in Haiti.
Obama encouraged Americans who want to help to go toWhiteHouse.gov to find options for contributing to the aid effort.
Anyone seeking information on Americans in Haiti can call the U.S. State Department at 1-888-407-4747. Associated Press reporter Pauline Jelinek at the Pentagoncontributed to this story.